South Whidbey Fire/EMS calls reach 2,600 for 2016

South Whidbey Fire/EMS responded to 2,600 emergency calls last year, setting a new record and busting the district’s prediction.

Fire officials estimated at least 2,500 calls would be made for 2016.

Chief Rusty Palmer said 78 to 79 percent of the calls were medical, a percentage which has increased over the years as the average population has aged. The district is receiving an average of seven and a half calls a day, an increase from six calls a day just two years ago.

Palmer added the number could have been higher had 2016 brought the regular slew of windstorms. There was only one windstorm this past year that struck in March, and another predicted windstorm in October hardly touched down on Whidbey.

Palmer says the growing number of calls is an issue the district is currently wrangling with.

“If this trend continues by 2018, we’ll have 3,000 calls a year,” Palmer said.

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